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Unfulfilled Post Ideas from the Past Three Weeks!

Normally I don’t write many posts due to having no inspired thing to write about. The past few weeks I have had a TON of ideas but no time to write. Instead, I have decided to put some of them down to a single post and if anyone is very interested in one of them I’ll fill that thought out.

1) Harvest Update- we are about 10-18 days away from bloom! This is incredibly early and the weather over the next three weeks will go very far towards setting the tone of this harvest. Minimal frost to date as well for such a early harvest so things are going well so far.

2) Why is it not possible to find a family friendly restaurant with good food? Do foodie parents of young children not need good food outside of Napa? Maybe that makes me a snob but a recent weekend vacation to Monterrey, CA really opened my eyes to how spoiled we are here. Our favorite (pre-child) restaurant which shall remain nameless for this post had a sign posted outside. “No strollers, no small children!” Really? I’m tempted to never go back even after my son is grown just because we felt so discriminated against. We settled for a very kid friendly restaurant that used too much salt and baked fish in white wine sauce included a carton of cream and a stick (at least) of butter completely negating my healthy choice of the fish in the first place. The second night we were directed by the hotel concierge to another restaurant where the serving of lasagna I ordered could have easily fed a small village. Can some chef with kids do something about this travesty???

3) Almost 6 weeks to go until my MW exam. I’m busily tweaking my answer style, doing timed tastings and re writing answers from previous exams. I look back over the past 4 exams I’ve sat and I can almost tell where I went wrong on some of the wines. I remember how they tasted to me and my thought process. I can’t believe I went Germany instead of Alsace on a set of three wines, two of which were so clearly Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling. Why didn’t I just say Chardonnay on the last wine on Paper 1 last year. It certainly tasted like Chardonnay but I talked myself out of it since I thought I had found a set of Chardonnays earlier in the exam. I hadn’t and ended up getting three wines wrong all because I over thought the exam. This year my plan is to not over think, don’t second guess, relax and show the examiners that I do, actually know this stuff! Wish me luck!


Thoughts That Only Go Through the Heads of MW Students

In my pursuit if one of the rarest and most difficult certifications in the world of wine, very often I am struck by the absurdity of some of my thoughts if I wasn’t totally engrossed in my Practical exam studies. I’ve decided to share some below that I’ve experienced but feel free to add others from your studies.

“Don’t go down the Riesling road, Don’t go down the Riesling road!”
- 4 wines, Same variety question, all white, different countries. Upon sensing a slight bit of Petrol on wine 1.

“Am I going to look like an idiot if I funnel Italy here?” – Trying to funnel possible old world origins of Bordeaux varieties when it is obviously Bordeaux.

“Which one has the screaming acid?” – when presented with 2 or more dubious brown colored wines with high alcohol.

“What’s the best justification between Colchagua and Maipo here?” – After getting to Chile justifying the origin “as closely as possible.”

” Ah ha! Bug spray!” – on my personal marker for Torrontez

“Just start writing SOMETHING!” – my thought during the exam in 2013 Paper 1 which contained 12 wines that were all frustratingly neutral

“I LOVE White Zin!” – upon finding a white Zinfandel on any blind tasting I’ve ever done! It’s so easy to pick out.

“I hope people don’t think I actually drink all these!” – On the number of open wine bottles at any given point in my kitchen.


This was NOT a staged photo as evidenced by the super messy counter and yes that IS 15 bottles on my counter.

You might be a Master of Wine student if….
- You have ever had an in depth serious conversation regarding the pros and cons of different pen designs.
- You’ve ever said “Bring it” in response to someone offering to pour you a blind wine.
- Friends and your mentors are randomly sending you tasting notes via email with no other correspondence as if to say “You know what to do.”
- Your family asks “Where are you tasting this weekend?” rather than “What are your plans this weekend.”
- You know the statistical frequency of any main variety that has shown up on the exam.
- The results of a practice exam can either make or break your mood for the week.
and lastly, if your life has been utterly taken over by the exam and you wonder what you will find to do with all this time once you pass.

Please add your own thoughts in the comment sections! Crazy loves company!

Storm Chasin’ (or Avoiding as the case may be)

This weekend I’ve been tracking winter storm Titan. I left San Francisco while it was pouring last Friday morning and flew to Tennessee.

My flight over the mid-west on the way to Tennessee.

On Saturday I was part of a great event that raised funds for the children of Hamblin County through an organization called HC Excell. The local newspaper covered my visit here. It was great to be a part of this event and introduce the Robert Mondavi Winery wines to family and friends. My Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, and my cousin Laura (who had invited me to be the special guest of the evening) were all in attendance. I was supposed to fly to St. Louis yesterday but Titan was coming east and had settled over St. Louis. I ended up driving over the Appalachian Mountains to Charlotte to fly to St. Louis on Monday morning instead of following my itinerary to Philadelphia and avoided certain entrapment due to the storm.


When I arrived in St Louis it was not as bad as was advertised on the news but winter is holding stubbornly on to the city. Our visits to retailers were walking over a crust of ice and a dusting of snow.


Tonight I attended the kick off party for another great cause called Restaurants for Restoration. It is a program in St Louis that benefits the Forest Park, a larger city park than NYC’s Central Park and the site of the 1904 World’s Fair as well as a Summer Olympics in its past. One of the pictures from the event was on Twitter here
Tomorrow, I finish my trip in St Louis and head back to California. I have been so excited to be a part of these great events that are doing so much to give back to the community. Hopefully Titan will let me travel with out detour.